Sunday, January 31, 2021

SAG Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Comedy Series

Last year’s nominees: Christina Applegate (Dead to Me), Alex Borstein (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)

Waller-Bridge’s show ended, and Borstein and Brosnahan will surely compete when their show eventually returns to air its fourth season. The other two nominees from last year, Christina Applegate (Dead to Me) and Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek), should be set to return, and the question is whether they’ll be joined by their costars Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me) and Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek). Previous nominees Lily Tomlin (Grace and Frankie), Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie), Debra Messing (Will and Grace), and Megan Mullally (Will and Grace) could garner votes, but I think new blood is likelier. Issa Rae (Insecure) and Pamela Adlon (Better Things) have never been nominated but their shows have recently earned renewed accolades. Emmy voters chose Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish) again, so she could be nominated here too. The Critics Choice Association honored Natasia Demetriou (What We Do in the Shadows), who might show up here. I’ll bet on two new contenders, Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant) and Elle Fanning (The Great), and I would be legitimately surprised if Jane Levy (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist) got selected here since I think she has a much better shot at the Golden Globes.

Current predictions:
Christina Applegate (Dead to Me)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Elle Fanning (The Great)
Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek)
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)

SAG Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Comedy Series

Last year’s nominees: Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method), Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method), Bill Hader (Barry), Andrew Scott (Fleabag), Tony Shalhoub (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)

None of last year’s nominees are eligible this time, paving the way for an all-new field. Yes, four nominees from 2017 are actually eligible - Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Anthony Anderson (Black-ish), William H. Macy (Shameless), and Sean Hayes (Will and Grace) – but I wouldn’t expect any of them to show up. Instead, look for both Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek) and Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) after their show earned other nominations last year. Ramy Youssef (Ramy) and Mahershala Ali (Ramy) are also possible, but I’m not sure if SAG voters will embrace the show. Matt Barry (What We Do in the Shadows) or Harvey Guillén (What We Do in the Shadows) might earn bids, but I’d look instead at new series stars like Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) or Nicholas Hoult (The Great). It may also be time for eighteen-time Emmy nominee Ted Danson (The Good Place) to earn his first-ever SAG bid for the final four episodes of his show that aired in 2020.

Current predictions:
Nicholas Hoult (The Great)
Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
Ramy Youssef (Ramy)

SAG Predictions: Best Female Actor in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show), Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown), Olivia Colman (The Crown), Jodie Comer (Killing Eve), Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid’s Tale)

Three of last year’s nominees are eligible this time around, with Aniston and Moss having to wait until their shows return sometime in the future. Olivia Colman (The Crown) will surely be back, and it’s just a question of whether Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown) can edge out internal competition that was more prominently featured in season four, new cast members Gillian Anderson (The Crown) and Emma Corrin (The Crown). Two nominations for one show is common, but only one series – “The Sopranos” – ever pulled off three bids in one year. Last year’s nominee Jodie Comer (Killing Eve) is eligible again, along with her previously nominated costar Sandra Oh (Killing Eve). Buzzier choices include two previous nominees who are newly eligible, Laura Linney (Ozark) and Julia Garner (Ozark). Their costar Janet McTeer (Ozark) seems unlikely in such a crowded field, which also probably won’t have room for new possibilities like Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country) and Sarah Paulson (Ratched). Could this category really just be honoring two shows, or will previous winners in contention for the last time like Claire Danes (Homeland) and Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) bump someone out?

Current predictions:
Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Julia Garner (Ozark)
Laura Linney (Ozark)

SAG Predictions: Best Male Actor in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us), Steve Carell (The Morning Show), Billy Crudup (The Morning Show), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), David Harbour (Stranger Things)

Dinklage’s show is over, and Carell, Crudup, and Harbour won’t contend again until their shows return. But count back in Jason Bateman (Ozark) and Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), whose series took 2019 off. It’s distinctly possible that Tom Pelphrey (Ozark) will join his costar just as Laura Linney and Julia Garner were both nominated together in 2018. I had expected Tobias Menzies (The Crown) to be nominated last year, and his more prominently featured costar Josh O’Connor (The Crown) may have a shot this year. New contenders like Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason) and Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country) shouldn’t be counted out, but SAG doesn’t always shower brand-new series with love. Is there someone else like John Krasinski from two years ago waiting to surprise with a completely unexpected nomination?

Current predictions:
Jason Bateman (Ozark)
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)
Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Golden Globe Musings: Best Comedy Series

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Barry
Fleabag
The Kominsky Method
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
The Politician


New contenders:
The Flight Attendant
The Great
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Potential first-time nominees:
Dead to Me
Insecure
Pen15
Ramy
Schitt’s Creek
Ted Lasso
What We Do in the Shadows

Returning series:
Kidding

Past nominees:
Black-ish
Will and Grace

You can read my extensive rundown of this category for Awards Radar from November. This year is a strange situation since only one of last year’s nominees – “The Politician” – is eligible again, and it’s hard to imagine it returning. I would be ecstatic if the now-cancelled “Kidding,” which aired its second season early in 2020, managed a repeat, but I don’t see it happening. “The Flight Attendant” wasn’t yet a contender when I did my analysis of this category a few months ago, and so I’m struggling to decide which show ends up with only an acting bid and no nomination here. I’m going to go ahead and add first-time nominee “Schitt’s Creek” to a list that otherwise includes only brand-new shows rather than series in their second seasons, like “Ramy,” “What We Do in the Shadows,” or “Dead to Me.”

Current predictions:
The Flight Attendant
The Great
Schitt’s Creek
Ted Lasso
Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Golden Globe Musings: Best Drama Series

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Big Little Lies
The Crown
Killing Eve
The Morning Show
Succession


New contenders:
Bridgerton
Lovecraft Country
The Outsider
Perry Mason
Ratched

Potential first-time nominees:
Better Call Saul
The Boys
The Mandalorian
Ozark

Returning series:
Homecoming

Past nominees:
Outlander
This Is Us
Westworld

You can read my extensive rundown of this category for Awards Radar from November. Two of last year’s nominees are eligible this time. One, “The Crown,” is a sure thing, while I didn’t even expect “Killing Eve” to return last year. New shows “Lovecraft Country” and “Perry Mason” are probable inclusions, and what most are predicting this year is something that’s not very typical of Globe voters: welcoming in shows they haven’t previously celebrated. “Ozark” is one such choice, as is “The Mandalorian.” I think it’s much more up their alley to go with “Ratched,” but that show got zero Critics Choice nominations, which makes me wonder whether everyone liked it as much as I did.

Current predictions:
The Crown
Lovecraft Country
Ozark
Perry Mason
Ratched

Golden Globe Musings: Best Miniseries or Television Film

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Catch-22
Chernobyl
Fosse/Verdon
The Loudest Voice
Unbelievable


Last year, this category offered up the startling snub of “When They See Us,” and this year, the field is considerably more stacked with contenders. Only one TV movie has been nominated in the past five years, and this year could be the time for Bad Education. Two of the three Emmy nominees for Best Limited Series, Mrs. America and Unorthodox, seem like sure things. The other selection, Little Fires Everywhere, is likely to be overshadowed by newer entries like The Queen’s Gambit, Small Axe, I May Destroy You, or The Undoing. Two Emmy-eligible offerings that didn’t make the cut, Normal People and The Plot Against America, are also possible. Additionally, look out for The Good Lord Bird, The Comey Rule or season four of Fargo.

Current predictions:
Mrs. America
Normal People
The Queen’s Gambit
Small Axe
Unorthodox


Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a TV Series

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Patricia Arquette (The Act)
Helena Bonham Carter (The Crown)
Toni Collette (Unbelievable
Meryl Streep (Big Little Lies)
Emily Watson (Chernobyl)

One of last year’s nominees is eligible again – Carter – and especially since her role wasn’t as prominent this year, she may be ousted in favor of new costar Gillian Anderson (The Crown). Emmy nominees in the three corresponding categories add another nine eligible women in contention. All three winners - Julia Garner (Ozark), Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek), and Uzo Aduba (Mrs. America) are strong possibilities. Aduba may be joined by her two Emmy- and Critics Choice-nominated costars, Margo Martindale (Mrs. America) and Tracey Ullman (Mrs. America), or by another who was snubbed, like past Globe nominees Rose Byrne (Mrs. America) or Sarah Paulson (Mrs. America). I wouldn’t count on Yvonne Orji (Insecure), Holland Taylor (Hollywood), and even Thandie Newton (Westworld), who was nominated both times she was previously eligible, to return. Critics Choice honorees include Marielle Heller (The Queen’s Gambit), Wunmi Mosaku (Lovecraft Country), Hannah Waddingham (Ted Lasso) and three Emmy-eligible snubbees: Winona Ryder (The Plot Against America), Janet McTeer (Ozark), and Cynthia Erivo (The Outsider). Other possibilities include Jessie Buckley (Fargo), Letitia Wright (Small Axe), and Bette Midler (The Politician).

Current predictions:
Uzo Aduba (Mrs. America)
Gillian Anderson (The Crown)
Jessie Buckley (Fargo)
Marielle Heller (The Queen’s Gambit)
Annie Murphy (Schitt’s Creek)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a TV Series

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Alan Arkin (The Kominsky Method)
Kieran Culkin (Succession)
Andrew Scott (Fleabag)
Stellan Skarsgard (Chernobyl)
Henry Winkler (Barry)

It’s always difficult to predict this category, which feeds from so many different projects. All five of last year’s nominees aren’t eligible this time around, though Culkin and Winkler may have a chance when their shows eventually return for season three (Arkin isn’t coming back for his show’s third outing). Eight of the twenty-two Emmy nominees in the corresponding categories are eligible. The likeliest among them are surely Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek) and Mahershala Ali (Ramy), while Andre Braugher (Brooklyn Nine-Nine), Giancarlo Esposito (Better Call Saul), and Jeffrey Wright (Westworld) would be peculiar first-time inclusions this late into their runs. Limited series honorees Jim Parsons (Hollywood), Dylan McDermott (Hollywood), and Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend) all have a decent shot, though Burgess was never nominated for the series that leads into his TV movie. Of the sixteen additional names added to the conversation by the Critics Choice Association on their list, watch out for past nominees like Tobias Menzies (The Crown), now switched to this category after a lead bid last year, and John Lithgow (Perry Mason), previously cited for two other series in this race. Tom Pelphrey (Ozark) and John Turturro (The Plot Against America) were both Emmy-eligible but didn’t get nominated, while Donald Sutherland (The Undoing), Michael K. Williams (Lovecraft Country), Glynn Turman (Fargo), Joshua Caleb Johnson (The Good Lord Bird), and Daveed Diggs (The Good Lord Bird) are new contenders from the back half of 2020. Still other possibilities include Brendan Gleeson (The Comey Rule), Ben Whishaw (Fargo), John Boyega (Small Axe), and Amit Rahav (Unorthodox).

Current predictions:
Mahershala Ali (Ramy)
Brendan Gleeson (The Comey Rule)
Dan Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
John Lithgow (Perry Mason)
Tobias Menzies (The Crown)

Friday, January 29, 2021

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Movie

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Joey King (The Act)
Kaitlyn Dever (Unbelievable)
Helen Mirren (Catherine the Great)
Merritt Wever (Unbelievable)
Michelle Williams (Fosse/Verdon)

Four of the five Emmy nominees from this past year are eligible, though only two of them made the cut with the Critics’ Choice six-wide field. Shira Haas (Unorthodox) and Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America) are the two that earned nominations from both groups. Octavia Spencer (Self Made) and Kerry Washington (Little Fires Everywhere) were Emmy’s choices, while CCA voters acknowledged the Emmy-eligible Daisy Edgar-Jones (Normal People). CCA also cited Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You) and Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit). Other possibilities include Nicole Kidman (The Undoing), Reese Witherspoon (Little Fires Everywhere), Zoe Kazan (The Plot Against America), and Kata Mara (A Teacher). I’m devastated by the thought of another Edgar-Jones snub, but it’s hard to predict Kidman not getting it over her.

Current predictions:
Cate Blanchett (Mrs. America)
Michaela Coel (I May Destroy You)
Shira Haas (Unorthodox)
Nicole Kidman (The Undoing)
Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Christopher Abbott (Catch-22)
Sacha Baron Cohen (The Spy)
Russell Crowe (The Loudest Voice)
Jared Harris (Chernobyl)
Sam Rockwell (Fosse/Verdon)

Four of the five Emmy nominees from this past year are eligible, though only two of them made the cut with the Critics’ Choice six-wide field. Emmy winner Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True) and Paul Mescal (Normal People) are the two that earned nominations from both groups. Hugh Jackman (Bad Education), Jeremy Irons (Watchmen), and Jeremy Pope (Hollywood) are the other three Emmy picks, and I’d like to hope that Globe voters’ affection for Ryan Murphy will enable them to notice Pope’s equally good costar, David Corenswet (Hollywood). The CCA chose John Boyega (Small Axe) – who Globe voters may be considering supporting, Hugh Grant (The Undoing) and Chris Rock (Fargo), along with the Emmy-eligible Morgan Spector (The Plot Against America). I’d also like to see Rock’s costar Jason Schwartzman (Fargo) here, but I’m not sure if that’s likely. Other strong possibilities are Ethan Hawke (The Good Lord Bird), Bryan Cranston (Your Honor), Jeff Daniels (The Comey Rule), and Jude Law (The Third Day).

Current predictions:
Jeff Daniels (The Comey Rule)
Hugh Grant (The Undoing)
Hugh Jackman (Bad Education)
Paul Mescal (Normal People)
Mark Ruffalo (I Know This Much Is True)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a TV Series - Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Christina Applegate (Dead to Me)
Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel)
Kirsten Dunst (On Becoming a God in Central Florida)
Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll)
Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Fleabag)

New contenders:
Awkwafina (Awkwafina is Nora from Queens)
Lily Collins (Emily in Paris)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Elle Fanning (The Great)
Jane Levy (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)
Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Never Have I Ever)

Potential first-time nominees:
Pamela Adlon (Better Things)
Linda Cardellini (Dead to Me)
Natasia Demetriou (What We Do in the Shadows)
Maya Erskine (Pen15)
Anna Konkle (Pen15)
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)

Past nominees:
Debra Messing (Will and Grace)
Issa Rae (Insecure)
Tracee Ellis Ross (Black-ish)

Last year, four out of five of the past year’s nominees were eligible and just one returned, and this year, only one is. Waller-Bridge’s show ended, Dunst’s had its renewal reversed, and Lyonne’s is slated to return at some point. Brosnahan’s will probably be back soon, but it hasn’t arrived yet. That leaves Applegate as the lone possibility to repeat, and I’m certainly hoping that she’ll be joined by her equally deserving costar Cardellini. Though she’s never been nominated, Emmy winner O’Hara seems like a sure thing, and Demetriou, who didn’t earn an Emmy nomination but her show performed well enough to show that it’s clearly well-regarded, is another possibility. I’m rooting for another Emmy snubee, Fanning, who will hopefully join Cuoco, the likeliest of a handful of new series contenders. Though it’s a competitive field with potential inclusions like Rae or Adlon, I suspect that the rare musical series star – Levy – will round out this category.

Current predictions:
Christina Applegate (Dead to Me)
Kaley Cuoco (The Flight Attendant)
Elle Fanning (The Great)
Jane Levy (Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist)
Catherine O’Hara (Schitt’s Creek)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a TV Series - Comedy/Musical

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Michael Douglas (The Kominsky Method)
Bill Hader (Barry)
Ben Platt (The Politician)
Paul Rudd (Living with Yourself)
Ramy Youssef (Ramy)

New contenders:
Steve Carell (Space Force)
Nicholas Hoult (The Great)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)

Potential first-time nominees:
Matt Berry (What We Do in the Shadows)
Don Cheadle (Black Monday)
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)

Eligible again:
Jim Carrey (Kidding)

Past nominees:
Anthony Anderson (Black-ish)
Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm)
Eric McCormack (Will and Grace)
William H. Macy (Shameless)

Last year, only two of the previous year’s nominees were eligible to come back, and this year that’s true again. Douglas and Hader will have to wait for their shows to return, while there’s been no word in almost a year and a half on whether Rudd’s series will ever be back. It’s hard to imagine Platt repeating given his show’s poor performance at the Emmys, but it’s always possible. I’d be much more thrilled if Globe voters remembered Carrey and the fact that his now-cancelled show was even better in season two. Last year’s winner, Youssef, should be back without question, and he’ll likely be joined by a combination of actors from new series and never-nominated fan favorites. I don’t see Sudeikis missing, and I really hope that Hoult doesn’t either. Even though his record-breaking Emmy-winning show hasn’t been nominated for a single Globe, Levy should be in for its final year, and I suspect that Berry, whose show broke through in a few categories with Emmy nominations this year, may join him.

Current predictions:
Matt Berry (What We Do in the Shadows)
Nicholas Hoult (The Great)
Eugene Levy (Schitt’s Creek)
Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso)
Ramy Youssef (Ramy)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actress in a TV Series - Drama

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Jennifer Aniston (The Morning Show)
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Jodie Comer (Killing Eve)
Nicole Kidman (Big Little Lies)
Reese Witherspoon (The Morning Show)

New contenders:
Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Phoebe Dyvenor (Bridgerton)
Brandee Evans (P-Valley)
Janelle Monae (Homecoming)
Sarah Paulson (Ratched)
Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)

Potential first-time nominees:
Laura Linney (Ozark)

Past nominees:
Caitriona Balfe (Outlander)
Mandy Moore (This Is Us)
Sandra Oh (Killing Eve)

Only two of last year’s nominees are eligible again. Colman should be joined by newly promoted costar Corrin, while Comer is less of a sure thing. Although she managed a repeat Emmy nomination for season three of her show along with costar Oh, who won this prize two years ago, Globe voters don’t tend to welcome back past nominees. Instead, expect an embrace of new contenders like Smollett and Paulson, as well as an opportunity to finally welcome Linney into this race even though other awards bodies have been feting her for this role for previous seasons. The second season of her show didn’t make much noise, but it’s worth watching out for Monae since her show’s first season was strongly received by this group.

Current predictions:
Olivia Colman (The Crown)
Emma Corrin (The Crown)
Laura Linney (Ozark)
Sarah Paulson (Ratched)
Jurnee Smollett (Lovecraft Country)

Golden Globe Musings: Best Actor in a TV Series - Drama

Golden Globe nominations for this year will be announced soon, so here’s a survey of the contenders and the most likely predictions at this time. Weigh in with your thoughts, and let me know if I’ve left off anyone important. A reminder that last year’s nominees mean zilch at the Globes and that the race is almost entirely unpredictable.

Last year’s nominees:
Brian Cox (Succession)
Kit Harington (Game of Thrones)
Rami Malek (Mr. Robot)
Tobias Menzies (The Crown)
Billy Porter (Pose)

New contenders:
Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country)
Ben Mendelsohn (The Outsider)
Aaron Paul (Westworld)
Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)

Eligible again:
Jason Bateman (Ozark)

Potential first-time nominees:
Josh O’Connor (The Crown)

Past nominees:
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul)

None of last year’s nominees will return this year. Only Menzies is eligible again, and now he’s been demoted to the supporting category, making room for O’Connor to take his spot. Bateman was nominated twice before his show took 2019 off, and he may be joined by Odenkirk or Brown, who both received multiple nominations before being left off in recent years (but which one?). The two performers from new series cited by the Critics Choice Association, Majors and Rhys, should have a good shot here too.

Current predictions:
Jason Bateman (Ozark)
Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us)
Jonathan Majors (Lovecraft Country)
Josh O’Connor (The Crown)
Matthew Rhys (Perry Mason)

Thursday, January 28, 2021

What I’m Watching: Search Party (Season Finale)

Search Party: Season 4, Episode 10 “The Shadows” (B+)

All I kept thinking during this episode was what a dark turn it was to have Dory die in a fire, and how unexpected it was to have the main character of a series die. Unfortunately, there’s no indication that this show will be back for a fifth season, which I’m worried may not happen since its season four renewal was so long ago, before season three even premiered. I did notice that we didn’t see Dory die and there was no mention of how it happened, and that was a helpful clue for the startling final scene in which she didn’t actually die and apparently just had a moment to visualize what could have happened if she had. Even if this all wasn’t real – which is what I suspect – it was a powerful and typically peculiar way to say goodbye to the character, with Portia giving a speech mostly about herself, Elliott sort of pandering to right-wing patriots, and Drew singing a heartfelt song that he acknowledged Dory would have hated. I appreciated the opportunity to see past characters like Dory’s parents, Portia’s mother, Julian, and Gail. It was also great to see Chantal affirm that she really didn’t know any of them but still feel like she should say something nice to the group. I don’t know what to make of the clairvoyant or Chip’s final very threatening message, but Dory’s last-words video was unexpectedly poignant. I do hope that she is still alive and that we’ll see her and this group again. This show is unapologetically bizarre but it really does work so well.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Alia Shawkat as Dory

What I’m Watching: Search Party

Search Party: Season 4, Episode 9 “The Inferno” (B+)

Well, this show just took a very dark turn. I was so curious when we saw Dory get out of the trunk at the gas station and thought for a moment that this whole season was just an imagined dream, something that would have left me with conflicted feelings but very intrigued. Instead, she seemed to come to that same place she was at when she went back to the house and begged Chip to help her forget everything again, aware that she deserved punishment for everything that she had done. Her friends weren’t having any of that at the restaurant, with Drew offering perhaps the most dismissive response about how they have it relatively easy compared to starving people, while Portia and Elliott at least presented somewhat intellectual thoughts about what gives them purpose. Chip was also judgmental of Dory because he could now articulate why it was that he took Dory in the first place, and she only wanted to use him for her own purposes. Lylah turned out to be the one with the least emotion, pushing Dory down the stairs to her presumed death! I can’t imagine it’s going to end that way, but her friends did seem particularly unalarmed by the sirens of the fire truck and were more than happy to get in their car and drive away, unaware that she was potentially suffocating to death. The most cringeworthy moment of this episode came when Cindy executed her musical proposal, assisted by all of Drew’s family, and then she proclaimed that he had said yes when he expressed to her the need for more time. There’s no way that’s going to work out.

What I’m Watching: Search Party

Search Party: Season 4, Episode 8 “The Imposter” (B+)

I had been wondering whether we’d see Chantal again after only meeting her for just a moment in the flashback following her apparent departure from the show when she was arrested at the end of last season. I enjoyed her lawyer’s incredible frustration when she indicated that she didn’t want to leave and suggested that she should first consult a lawyer, for some reason not comprehending who he was. Her family didn’t treat her terribly well, but she was more interested in having goose than accepting that her mistakes had led to them all losing their jobs and being blacklisted. Being inspired by drugs and hallucinations of her favorite authors to write a book was an interesting way to connect back to what we’ve been seeing, particularly when she threw it out the window and killed Charlie. I enjoyed Kate Berlant’s brief appearance as the editor who asked her never to write anything again, and Wilma was far more inspired by what she thought had been written by a child. Chantal really didn’t have much of a plan for going on the show when they were expecting a ten-year-old girl, but somehow she managed to win over the audience. I like that she saw Dory’s wanted poster but was too self-centered to even notice it, and that all of this triggered Dory’s memories so that she could remember all that happened. That will probably jolt her back to a better place of understanding, but I doubt she’ll be too happy with the friends who have been holding her captive.

What I’m Watching: Search Party

Search Party: Season 4, Episode 7 “The Infinite Loop” (B+)

What a great title for this episode, which featured a plotline that I doubt would have made as much sense on any other series. The young woman working at the ice cream shop indicated her general intelligence level with her question about New York, and her unhelpful answers served to create tremendous confusion, particularly when she couldn’t tell the difference between Chip posing as his Aunt Lylah and the real thing. I remember seeing that Susan Sarandon would be appearing this season, and casting her as Lylah was a terrific choice. She clearly has her own baggage, which includes her secret parenting of her supposed nephew, and the way she dryly reported on the dungeon conditions of her home was pretty entertaining. I did not expect that Dory would end up being thrown in yet another trunk by her friends, and that they’re now the ones holding her hostage and tied to a bed since she thinks of them as treacherous elements who made her life miserable. There’s not much hope for any of them since they’re all equally disconnected from reality, and Drew’s efforts were not any more positively received than Elliott’s misguided tough love and Portia’s panicked whining. There are only three more episodes of this season, and I suspect that people may now be looking for Dory and discover that she has been kidnapped, but not by Chip or Lylah. I’m looking forward to those antics even if I believe that Dory may be beyond saving at this point, and that only bad things can happen from here.

What I’m Watching: The Stand

The Stand: Season 1, Episode 7 “The Walk” (B)

Well, this hardly seemed like the most efficient way for the good guys to get to Vegas, but I suppose walking for a few days before hitching a ride to go the rest of the trip actually ended up working out okay. I’m surprised at how quickly this show is willing to dispose of some of its main characters, namely Harold, who got tricked by Nadine’s unfriendliness and went diving off a cliff to a place of certain death that he ended up meeting earlier than he needed to because he didn’t want to take his chances. The crows certainly came to feast on his body when Larry showed up to pay respect to a man who, evil impulses aside, did help get him to Colorado. Nadine seemed to feel that something was off when she met Flagg on that red carpet in the desert, but her attitude was altogether different and far more accepting of her fate when she creepily greeted Mother Abagail’s loyal devotees at the casino. The way that they got to drive through the streets of Las Vegas and see the way in which people were indulging their base violent impulses was a sobering indicator that they were not all in control, which is hardly inspiring for the possibility of them being victorious. Stu getting left behind was also a surprise, though his character arc isn’t quite as neatly sealed as Harold’s, and maybe he and those left behind in Colorado can pull off an upset victory against evil.

Take Three: Call Your Mother

Call Your Mother: Season 1, Episode 3 “Quaran-Jean” (B+)

I had asked last week for more of a spotlight on Jackie and Freddie’s lives, and learning more about their individual relationships with their mother and the way in which they saw each other was informative and entertaining. Jackie was understandably annoyed that Freddie was the child who didn’t clearly express as much concern for Jean yet got more of her love, and Jean articulated it perfectly when she said that Freddie was easy, telling her what he needed at every juncture rather than making her guess what she actually wanted. Having them all end up in the emergency room with different injuries was evidently formulaic but it was still fun, and I like that all of the characters are aware of the affections of others. Celia forming an exclusive club with Jackie that she promptly dissolved since she would only ever call her in the event of a hair emergency was a nice subplot that lasted exactly as long as it should have, and it was good to see Celia stand up for herself when Freddie was more interested in having his mom come back to see the doctor instead of her. Danny was smart to go after Cheryl’s very muscular new boyfriend with psychological warfare, but he would have done better not to accidentally attack him physically. Cheryl acknowledging that she knows Danny is falling for Jean was an important step since now he might feel okay moving forward with it, especially since Jean clearly feels the same way.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Pilot Review: Possessions

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

Pilot Review: Resident Alien

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

What I’m Watching: Big Sky

Big Sky: Season 1, Episode 6 “The Wolves Are Always Out for Blood” (B-)

This episode definitely did not go where I thought it would, since all I kept thinking between the December finale and now was how killing Rick wasn’t going to mean much since the traffickers were on their way to pick them up, presumably arriving sooner than Cassie’s backup. Apparently, Danielle, Grace, and Jerrie were too shellshocked to note that particular piece of information, and as a result we’re back to the main characters we know. I’m quite surprised that a bullet to the head didn’t kill Rick, and now he’s going to wake up, potentially with brain functionality, as Cassie is prosecuted for shooting him even though he hadn’t explicitly stated the threat she interpreted. Agreeing to keep the investigation going with Jenny in the aftermath of Cody’s funeral makes complete sense, though I’m curious how Danielle and Grace will remain so involved if they do go back to Colorado. Jerrie and Jenny became fast friends, and it would definitely behoove Jerrie to share the threatening note she found pinned to her door. Ronald is finally confiding in his mother, who seems all too willing to help him get away with his very illegal actions. I understand he doesn’t want to get caught, but everything he’s doing feels like he’s asking to be noticed and found. Going after Jenny isn’t going to be a good move for him, and continuing to pose as Mitchell as he tries to get closer to a clearly uninterested Merrilee seems like a similarly inadvisable option, unless she’s too ashamed of her indiscretion to tell anyone about it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

What I’m Watching: Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist: Season 2, Episode 4 “Zoey’s Extraordinary Employee” (B+)

For being in control of an entire floor, Zoey doesn’t actually seem to be in charge of all that much, and her employees have a better idea of what’s going on than she does. It could be because her mind is always elsewhere, though in this case Mo’s overly strong drinks resulted in her getting way too drunk and accidentally calling George to rehire him thinking he was…Max? Or Simon? That’s not clear, but she did play it far too cool with Max, who wasn’t happy that he felt like he was the only one focused on the business, even though Mo was working his own particular brand of magic. Though it’s not a good idea for Simon to start a relationship with Tatiana for professional reasons, they did connect on a personal level and it could be good for him since, regardless of Zoey and Max not working out and Emily rooting for Team Simon, it doesn’t look like Zoey and Simon are going to happen anytime soon (also because Aidan is back, which is going to complicate things in a big way). Maggie and Roger, on the other hand, does seem like a more possible occurrence, especially if Jenna continues to whisper in Maggie’s ear that it’s a good idea. It’s nice to see David realize what he needed in his life and go for it, and I’m sure that being a stay-at-home parent will produce its own challenges. In embarrassing song recognition, I misattributed “Stronger” by Britney Spears to NSYNC after the first few lyrics George sang and was promptly ridiculed by my wife.

What I’m Watching: Snowpiercer (Season Premiere)

Snowpiercer: Season 2, Episode 1 “The Time of Two Engines” (B)

This show is back just six months after its first season concluded and not too much more than that since it first started. It also just scored a season three renewal, so its characters are evidently going to survive for a while even that doesn’t feel likely at the moment. I do think that the casting of Sean Bean from “Game of Thrones” and “Legends” as Mr. Wilford is very strong, and he’s certainly indulging in the excess of his personality, which is far from kind to Melanie, who everyone seems to perceive as having deeply betrayed them. That’s especially true of Alex, who had no interest in getting to know her mother and only indicated a mild softness in comparison with the harsh, unfeeling nature of Mr. Wilford. It’s interesting to see how things have changed aboard Snowpiercer and how they’ve mostly rallied together, aside from a few rebellious elements and the unfortunate need for Andre to impose martial law. The leadership team of Andre, Ruth, and Bess has a diverse range of allegiances, and they seem most intent on the survival of the train and those aboard it. Zarah’s pregnancy being revealed and her being moved to first class surely won’t be taken well, though I think everyone has much literally bigger things to worry about with the giant who was apparently impervious to the freezing temperatures who managed to stop a full-fledged onslaught on the other train all by himself. The war is just getting started, and from the looks of it, both sides are equally in it to win.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Pilot Review: Bridge and Tunnel

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

What I’m Watching: Euphoria (Special Episode)

Euphoria: Season 1, Episode 10 “F*ck Anyone Who's Not a Sea Blob” (B+)

The first special episode of this show was really terrific, and I also just watched “Malcolm and Marie,” a fantastic film from series creator Sam Levinson that stars Zendaya. Hunter Schafer was my AFT Award winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, and so it’s fantastic to get to see her almost exclusively anchor an episode. After Rue’s holiday hour opposite Ali, framing this one with Jules talking to a therapist was a strong way to approach it and to allow her to really communicate what it is that she feels. It’s fascinating to me how this show has introduced and addressed her transition, and how she views her connection both with men and with women. It’s also abundantly clear that she feels just as close to Jules as Jules does to her, and that final moment when Jules stopped by to wish her a merry Christmas was indicative of more positive things for them in the future. Hearing about her relationships and how she thinks she got to know Tyler better than she ever knew Rue was intriguing and heartbreaking, and the way she described the sexting with him as the best sex she ever had until he turned out to be such a horrible, manipulative fabrication was very intense. Coming home to find her mother there and eager to apologize after so many years of being absent was not what she was expecting, and that formative relationship, or absence of it, explains a lot about how she sees the world and how other people perceive her. I’m eager for this show’s official season two return.

What I’m Watching: Shameless: Hall of Shame

Shameless: Hall of Shame: Episode 4 “Debbie, Carl and Liam: They Grow Up So Fast” (B+)

I suspected that this hour was going to be about Debs and Carl and guess it makes sense that Liam would be part of it too. It’s crazy to me that both Emma Kenney and Ethan Cutkosky were only eleven years old when the show first started, and that Christian Isaiah was even younger than that on his first appearance – only nine! All three of them worked out superbly, and it was fun to end the episode with Kenney and Cutkosky being interviewed way back when. I’d say that the structure of this hour wasn’t quite as sophisticated as the previous halls of shame, but it was still a blast to see the very violent impulses that both Debs and Carl exhibited as children and the many irresponsible decisions they both made. I most enjoyed Carl not even pretending to exhibit remorse and then insulting the judge just so that he could sent to prison. I forgot that Frank had made Carl think he had cancer and then used Liam to beg for money, and also that Fiona had her own issues that led to a rock-bottom moment of Liam getting into her cocaine supply. Carl getting his nephew arrested was also something I didn’t remember, and I feel like there’s so much more that could have been into each retrospective episode and easily filled an entire season for each character. Carl selling guns when Fiona told him not to deal drugs and ending up with all of the teachers pulling out what he sold them when they heard a noise in the cafeteria was another moment that only this show could produce. Of all the significant others, I think that Kelly was my favorite, though I also liked Dominique. I do not miss Kassidi, who I’m pretty sure was murdered, which was pretty startling but not something I thought too much about since she wasn’t a great part of the show. Debs didn’t have much luck in the relationship department, with Claudia and Julia being the highlight, and it was a bit strange that Sandy didn’t even merit an appearance. Liam is probably the most ethical member of the family, but he seems more than eager enough to let the Gallagher influence corrupt him.

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Take Three: WandaVision

WandaVision: Season 1, Episode 3 “Now in Color” (B+)

I’m still so curious to know what’s really going on and whether the developments we’re seeing are actually happening or if they’re merely something designed to keep them safe from whatever foreign elements are trying to intrude. The comedic storyline of this episode was an obvious send-up of many typical sitcom plotlines, like putting fruit in front of actresses to hide their pregnancies. I appreciated the unexpected segue into Wanda remembering that she too was a twin, which prompted Geraldine to break character and acknowledge that Pietro was killed by Ultron. She didn’t seem to understand why she knew that, and we just got that brief shot of her being ejected into a field with many modern-day vehicles. Vision also started to notice something was wrong when the doctor made his comment about not being able to leave and Agnes and Herb were suspiciously fixing the fence damage while noting that Geraldine didn’t have a home. Compared with the first two episodes, this one had more of a focus on the unexplained, dropping just a few hints to distract from the blissfulness of the sitcom, and making it seem that, though the other people in town might have noticed that something weird is going on, they may already know it. The doctor was nauseated by the speed he traveled with Vision but not all that floored by the fact that he did it. I’m particularly mesmerized by Elizabeth Olsen’s performance and her superb handling of the changing tone on this show.

What I’m Watching: Dickinson

Dickinson: Season 2, Episode 5 “Forbidden Fruit a flavor has” (B+)

Emily spent this entire episode telling herself that everything that was being said about Samuel being a player wasn’t true, and then she went ahead and indulged in a very passionate moment at the end, at least in her mind. Sue seemed more distraught about it then she did since she actually knows Samuel’s wife and cares about her. I’m not sure why I never clicked through to figure out who the actor portraying Samuel was since I’ve been certain that I recognized him since his first appearance, and it makes so much sense now that he was Danny Rand on “Iron Fist.” This show and role are infinitely better uses of his talents. Everyone did seem to pivot to pretend like they were Emily’s most devoted fans as she appeared to be becoming famous, aside, of course, from her own family members, who couldn’t be bothered to come since they wanted to make a statement that they didn’t support Austin and Sue’s frivolous lifestyle. Those two aren’t on the same page on anything at this point, and it has nothing to do with the problems – namely, Sue and Emily’s feelings for each other – that initially plagued their relationship. Without a promising career as a poet to look ahead to, Lavinia, who is quickly becoming my favorite character, is trying to keep herself occupied and interested, and I like how she took Ship’s lackluster attempt at becoming smart as an opportunity for some academic role play, proving that “The Scarlet Letter” can be relevant in many ways.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Pilot Review: Losing Alice

Check out my one-minute take on every new pilot, which is embedded below and you can also watch by subscribing to movieswithabe on YouTube.

What I’m Watching: Call Me Kat

Call Me Kat: Season 1, Episode 4 “Therapy” (B)

It seems like Kat tends to leave her employees unsupervised at the cat café quite often, and at least they’re not deliberately irresponsible even if they always encounter some big problem within moments of her departure. In this case, it was not being able to distinguish the batch with drugs from the one without it, and having each of them try one was a smart way of figuring it out. It became quite obvious as soon as Phil wanted to take off all his clothes to be invisible which one he had tried, and Randi did her best to take care of him. Tim Bagley, a familiar face from “Will and Grace” and “Monk,” was well-cast as Wyatt, the ever-present patron who would rather make up fake reasons to have his coffee replaced than just ask for the already free refills. Usman Ally from “Veep” had a mostly silent role as the therapist who was overshadowed by his clients, but what he did say was emphatic and indicative of a resentment towards the unkind comments so flippantly made by Kat and Sheila as they delved into the meat of their relationship. Picking apart the shortcomings of others wasn’t a very healthy way of seeing the world, and I don’t know what to say about Kat’s defense of galloping other than that it’s the kind of thing that only really exists in television or movies since no one would take it seriously in real life. At least it’s moderately entertaining to watch, even if it’s not thoroughly believable.

What I’m Watching: B Positive

B Positive: Season 1, Episode 6 “Open Heart Surgery” (B)

It’s no secret that Drew has control issues and is relatively high-strung, and he would naturally impart his own neuroses a psych evaluation that his kidney donor was requited to have. I enjoyed her typical ribbing at the start of the episode, adding previous and future events to the shared calendar just after they were mentioned so that she could pretend she had properly informed him about them. Gina’s sudden obsession with her ex and his new girlfriend did threaten to derail her, but just as she’s able to function normally every day at work, she did perfectly during the evaluation even if Drew nearly messed it all up by trying to peek in through the outside window. Taking her shopping for cheap items was a nice present, and I love that she forced him to shoplift by hiding something on his body, a pack of gum that he was happy to share with his dialysis friends. Their bantering is pretty funny, and I like that Samantha isn’t the least bit ashamed to have gone to a different dentist than Jerry who had a better Yelp rating and that she shared the “Crazy Rich Asians” plot instead of her own personal details so that she wouldn’t be letting her guard down in any way. Eli being the one who others got hung up on was also quite entertaining. My favorite part of this show, however, is the fact that Gina makes Drew star in her videos and that, even though he’s incredibly awkward, he manages to play his assigned roles decently.

Friday, January 22, 2021

What I’m Watching: Mr. Mayor

Mr. Mayor: Season 1, Episode 4 “The SAC” (B)

This show is still deeply peculiar, but I did find myself cracking up uncontrollably twice during the episode, and that’s not something that happens all that often. The first time was Neil asking Tommy how his sister’s cousin wasn’t also his cousin, and Neil’s response to Orly wanting to move 24,000 miles away so that she could travel all the way around the earth and then back was number two. I also loved Arpi’s immediate response to Jayden’s icebreak question about her favorite salty snack as bran flakes, which apparently have more sodium than you’d think. Arpi was very excited to go to Sacramento to combat oil drilling, and while her fears that Neil was sending her to sabotage her turned out to be unfounded, she was nearly felled by the giant blueberry pancake that Jayden stepped in to eat for his new best friend. I was quite concerned that he was up for a staring contest while he was driving, and fortunately no one was hurt in the process. It wasn’t a surprise to see Rachel Dratch, a frequent guest on “30 Rock,” as Ms. Adams at school, and of course Orly wasn’t actually doing anything bad but instead just rebelling in a relatively harmless teenage way that mostly involved being bored by her dad. Tommy got a little too into creating the finsta, attaching himself to the idea of Emmy even though she didn’t exist, and tipping Orly off in a big way as if his overuse of modern slang terms and abbreviations wasn’t obvious enough in itself. I would also beg to differ that no one under sixty is named Nancy – I have a good friend my age with that very moniker.

Round Two: Call Your Mother

Call Your Mother: Season 1, Episode 2 “Distressed Jean” (B)

This second outing was moderately predictable but still fun, and I think that this premise should work well as its characters develop beyond the initial setup. Jean getting a job to keep her busy, for instance, is one such positive change. Now her family members won’t have to argue about who has to babysit her and will instead only see her maybe once a day for a meal or even less frequently if she starts to build more of a social life. I like that the attraction between Jean and Danny is something that’s being so openly talked about, even in front of her children, while the presence of his wife, though they’re separated, is hindering any substantial progress on that front. Jean’s constant conversations with Sharon on her propped-up tablet feel very pandemic-relevant, but of course that’s just something that’s happening in normal life since this show makes no mention of our current situation. I would like to learn more about Jackie and Freddie’s lives apart from their connection to their mother, and I’m hopeful that they’ll get more of a focus going forward aside from just a little love life trouble and playing video games all day, respectively. Celia and Lane are being used pretty well, both far more into spending time with Jean than either of her children are and possessing more personality and individuality than you might expect from supporting characters. I’m happy continuing with this show – it’s light and fun, and I can’t really say that about most of the programming I currently watch.

What I’m Watching: The Stand

The Stand: Season 1, Episode 6 “The Vigil” (B)

It turns out that Harold’s cameras didn’t put him a step ahead of Frannie when she refused to dismiss her concerns about him being creepy, but he still showed up just as she had discovered everything and locked her in the basement long enough to execute the big explosion that was set to happen during the vigil. Nadine showed up and smiled while she was actively planting the devices, and it’s interesting to see the semblances of morality that emerge, like her not wanting children to get hurt even though they’re theoretically just going to grow up to be part of the wrong generation allied with Mother Abagail. Having her run into Flagg in the woods showed the different ways in which they view their power, and how she is legitimately afraid of what he might do, whereas he doesn’t feel threatened by her, merely annoyed. He dealt swiftly with Bobby Terry, played by Clifton Collins Jr. from “Thief” and “Westworld,” who tried to betray and assassinate him only to be violently dismembered in full view of everyone in Las Vegas by the angry Flagg in the elevator. As soon as he heard mention of Mr. Moon, he knew that was the third spy, but fortunately Tom’s reading abilities enabled him to find the same text elsewhere, learn its meaning, and escape in a truck right before he got caught. I’m not sure he’ll be able to make it back to Colorado or that they’ll be able to focus following their own disastrous events, but at least he’s safe for now.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

What I’m Watching: Search Party

Search Party: Season 4, Episode 6 “The Thoughtless Woman” (B+)

It’s so hard to read Dory and to figure out if she’s just playing games with Chip or she’s really been convinced by all the mind work he’s done on her. Taking her out into the world was a bold and surely risky move, and I don’t even think that leaving her alone with the keys in the ignition was meant to be a test. He freaked out when the ice cream place that made his beloved caramel balsamic swirl – which sounds disgusting, by the way – and Dory managed to salvage the situation by suggesting another place which made her much happier, mostly because it’s a welcome change in her diet. Running into Marc was a worrisome development, but it didn’t even seem like Chip noticed, though he managed to post her name and location to social media very quickly after she reacted very poorly to being identified. It was a welcome “break in the case” for her friends, who did manage to finally see through the elaborate deception that was put on for them at the factory by Chip’s publicity-fearing parents. Portia’s “we actually did it, we put our minds to it and found Dory” was a bit too congratulatory, but they are indeed close now to finding her, even if she may not be eager to come with them if they do show up to rescue her. The role of Chip’s father was a good fit for Griffin Dunne from “This Is Us” and “House of Lies,” and Deborah Rush from “Orange is the New Black” and “Billions” was a great choice to play his mother. I’m curious to see how much following up they’ll do on these troubling allegations. I don’t often comment about the song choices on this show, but the closing number was really perfect.

What I’m Watching: Search Party

Search Party: Season 4, Episode 5 “Doctor Mindbender” (B+)

I had excused the dim-witted trio of Drew, Elliott, and Portia believing that Dory had written a letter that sounded nothing like her because of their gullible tendencies, but you’d think the police would be a bit more discerning than to trust that kind of correspondence which almost gives away the fact that she was being held hostage. Fortunately, the newly-formed search party wasn’t about to accept that, even if Drew did want to be politer than his friends, but after getting helpful information in the least helpful and most poorly-communicated manner, they got themselves into yet another regrettable situation with no clothes or money and a long walk back to civilization. Recognizing Chip’s face on the food Portia was desperately trying to open was a positive ending note, and maybe that will lead them at least to where Chip is currently holding Dory and actively brainwashing her. I assumed he would be angry about the fact that she admitted to killing Keith and April, but he’s just convinced himself it’s not true, something he’s now trying to do with her too. Telling her that she was holding a pear and not a murder weapon was indeed trippy, and April’s postcard in which she talked about being a “jumpy girl” before the doll’s head fell off was just as joltingly problematic yet somehow still seemed to soothe a very troubled Dory. What I’m not sure is if she’s resigned herself to this alternate reality or if she’s still fighting back, but Chip’s use of that very real voicemail will definitely make her feel at least temporarily closer to her kidnapper than to the people who call themselves her friends.

What I’m Watching: Search Party

Search Party: Season 4, Episode 4 “Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-Jig” (B+)

So much for Ann Dowd being an enduring part of this show. Her refusal to accept any part of her situation didn’t resonate with the very resigned Dory, who didn’t bother to ask any helpful questions other than identifying the state where she was being held captive. I would have thought that Paula Jo would have done herself in by insisting on the many food allergies she had, but, while she appeared to asphyxiate on a nugget cooked in peanut oil, it was her demand to be kept separately from Dory the murderer that did her in. Though it does seem to have resulted in her death, it may be worse for Dory, who chose that moment to beat herself up for her past actions and confess that she did in fact kill Keith, something that will likely lead to the intense setup we saw in the season three scenes where Dory was being forced to recount everything that really happened. The movie version of this story didn’t actually feel too fake, and Portia is hardly the only one who needs acting notes. Busy Phillips’ Donna is over-the-top in a very different way than Portia, and I think this whole starring role thing isn’t going to last too long. Elliott is finding lots of fame with the network, and though he wouldn’t have wanted Charlie to be ousted or killed by a falling book, he’s not exactly doing much to stop it. Drew going through his storage locker for three hours was a good use of time, and let’s hope they can be slightly more motivated than they seem to track down Chip and the missing Dory.